Getting ready for the Broughtons

Somehow it seems that getting everything ready for a long trip takes longer that the trip itself, and this winter’s work on Braesail is no exception.

So what have we been doing since we left our intrepid boat?

  • Interior
    • Replaced all lighting with LEDs
    • Refoamed, cleaned, and conditioned all the upholstery (it’s gorgeous!)
    • The way Marine Projects did ceiling panels did not intend that mere mortals would get into the ceilings. The panels are held up with panel pins (like door panels in a car), but they are held in place with little screws which pull out of the panels if the panel pins are sticky. Since I’m going to have to put up new lining on the ceiling/wall joins, I’ll probably pull all the panels and rig them properly this next winter
  • Electrical
    • Replaced the 75 amp OEM alternator with a properly regulated (Balmar) 110 amp alternator. The OEM alternator never put out more than about 45 amps, and tapered off pretty drastically after a couple of hours. New alternator will put out enough to run the hot water heater through the inverter (100 amps real).
      On the first two days out, it’s basically putting 75-100 amp-hours into the batteries in a little over an hour
    • Added 270 watt solar array with a charge controller. Puts out 5-7 amps in a Dreary march midday, which is pretty much as predicted. On our sail across Puget Sound today, it was putting out 12-15 amps at 14 volts
    • Replaced the shaver point in the forward head with a cigarette lighter socket and a high-amp USB charger (but I seemed to have disconnected some part of the wiring for it behind the control panel)
  • Sailing systems
    • Sails
      • Had new UV strip applied to the staysail
    • Rigging
      • Worked with Bob Doyle to adjust and balance standing rigging
      • Just about finished replacing all the running rigging
    • Steering:
      • The pulleys that drive the quadrant were just sitting loose, with no nuts behind the bolts which position the pulley on the frame in front of the quadrant. We were one good bounce from loosing steering. This is now bolted correctly and the cables are tightened and greased
  • Dinghy
    • Replaced the venerable—and heavy—Honda BF8 with a nice brand new Honda 2.3 air-cooled motor. Went from 100 lbs which I could barely move to 24 lbs which Lorelette can toss about
  • Engine
    • Replaced the sender and meter for fuel level. I now know how much diesel I’ve got!
  • Safety
    • Added new LED electronic flares
    • Replaced all the bobbins on the inflatable life jackets
    • Lorelette and I went to the Safety at Sea course given by BC Sailing. Primarily intended for ocean racers, it was wonderfully informative. We recommend it to anybody doing extensive sailing
  • All the rest
    • Plugged the rain leak over the galley. Why is it always the starboard side that leaks? Still need to recaulk the fixed portlights–they started leaking after I power washed them
    • Discovered a cool inflatable two-step boarding ladder that doubles as a rafting fender. Makes getting on and off (as at fuel docks and other transient docks) much easier
    • The SSB suffered from water intrusion at some point in its life. Cleaned all the corrosion and repainted the case, Replaced a section of ground strap. Now I just have to figure out how to use the monster
    • Replaced the propane leak sensor and tied the propane solenoid into the switch in the alarm so that if the alarm senses a leak, the solenoid cuts off the gas
    • Replaced the mechanical float switch on the main bilge pump with a Water Witch electronic sensor; added a counter for each time the pump runs so we can tell if something is leaking
    • Added a secondary high-water alarm. If for some reason the bilge pump isn’t working (or it can’t keep up) lights and a horn go off
    • Serviced/replaced (or properly mounted) fire extinguisher. Put a fire blanket in the galley

Not a bad winter’s work. But there’s a little left to do:

  • Reverse engineer and rebuild the swim platform gas cylinder track so that it will push the platform past top dead center and open
  • Paint the starboard lazarette bottom
  • New dipstick tube for the engine (I don’t think this is really necessary, but fixing it was a condition of buying Braesail and I think I talked Mike into an allowance, so it will get done.
  • Adjust/tune engine. May need a pro here, as the engine smokes more than I’d like on startup
  • New hoses for both toilets. I’ve jury rigged the intake hoses, but should just replace them. The waste hose in the forward head behaves like it’s a bit clogged
  • Rig deck switches for the windlass. I’ve cleaned and lubed the clutch so that it now slips properly if overloaded and should free fall the anchor as well, but I’ve got the deck switches to make it even easier.
  • The cockpit curtains are great on long hauls, but a bit cumbersome in the short tacking around here. I need to rig them for better handling of sheets
  • Strip cap rail finish. Lorelette and I are still discussing whether we keep the cap rail bright, or let it weather like the decks. We are leaning toward letting it go silver
  • Gel coat repair. We’ll do this after the summer. Right now a couple of chips makes for keeping the blood pressure low.
  • Rig a better spool for stern tying

We are getting there, but the work is never done. The list just gets added to as time goes on, but Braesail has almost fully shed her “dock potato” weeds and is in cruising shape. I’ve got a couple of spots behind the water tanks where I haven’t made it into, but I feel much more confident that I’ve been through all the systems and they are in good shape.

See you in the great northland (or north water!).

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